Bosnia-Herzegovina, located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, shares its borders with Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. The country is almost completely landlocked, except for 12 miles along the Adriatic Sea.
At 44 percent, the unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to be the highest in the whole region. Around 18 percent of people live below the poverty line.
There has been an increase in violence, especially peer-to-peer and gender-based violence.
In particular, the Roma minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains extremely vulnerable and subject to widespread discrimination. An increasing number of Roma children are enrolling in primary and secondary education, but they still have a lower attendance rates than their peers.
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World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. Highlights of World Vision programs include:
While World Vision assisted the church in what was then Yugoslavia dating back to 1976, our work in Bosnia began in fiscal year 1994 with assistance to a women’s health center. Since then, some major accomplishments include:
Geography and people
Bosnia-Herzegovina, located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, shares its borders with Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. The country is almost completely landlocked, except for 12 miles along the Adriatic Sea. The Bosniak/Croat Federation takes up about half of the country, while the Republika Srpska occupies the remaining territory.
The Dinaric Alps cover most of the central and southern landscape, while plains cover the north. The climate has hot summers and cold winters.
Natural resources include coal, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, clay, salt, sand, forests, and hydropower.
Three main ethnic groups make up the population: the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), the Serbs, and the Croats. The Bosniaks are the largest group, making up almost half of the population. Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian are the country’s three official languages.
After centuries of Ottoman rule, Bosnia fell under the control of Austria-Hungary in 1908. Political tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in the early 20th century ended in the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in 1914 by a Serb from Bosnia. The killing led to the outbreak of World War I a month later.
Following World War II in 1945, Bosnia-Herzegovina became a republic of the newly established communist Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia, however, began losing stability during the 1980s.
Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence in 1991 and the United Nations recognized the country’s sovereignty in 1992. Conflict between Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs lasted until around 1995; tens of thousands of people died and even more were displaced during the violence.
In 2000, the Bosnian-Herzegovina government recognized Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs as official groups within the country.
The country has held democratic elections since 1991.